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Chartered Accountant

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree
Average Salary: $68,960 per year
Job Outlook: Very good

A chartered accountant is an accountant who has earned a professional accounting designation and is a member of a professional accounting organization. In the United States this is commonly known as a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA. They are often employed by corporations, public accounting firms, government agencies, or are self-employed.

Certified Public Accountants analyze financial information, verify and audit financial documents, and prepare financial documents and reports, such as tax returns, profit and loss statements, and investor reports. They may also serve as advisers to clients or their employers on subjects such as taxes, employee benefit programs, accounting systems, accounting controls, and financial planning.

Education and Training Requirements

Accountants need to be good at math and have good analytical skills. To prepare, you should try to take four years of math in high school and as many economics courses as you can.

Those wanting to become a chartered accountant or Certified Public Accountant need to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. Some then go on to earn a Master’s degree in Accounting or a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting.

They must also become familiar with accounting software, either learning on their own or by taking a class.

To earn the Certified Public Accountant designation, candidates must have at least 150 credit hours of accounting study, which is typically covered with the Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and then pass an exam. The CPA exam has four sections and takes a total of 18 hours to complete. Some states also require candidates to pass an ethics course and test. In addition, candidates must have at least one year of professional accounting experience under their belt before taking the exam.

Getting the Job

Previous college internships can be helpful in securing an accounting job. And then once you have your foot in the door and can earn the CPA designation, you will have an advantage from then on, as employers prefer to hire chartered accountants and Certified Public Accountants over accountant candidates who have not earned a professional designation.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The employment outlook for chartered accountants is very good. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a great increase in the number of accountant and auditor jobs from 2008 to 2018. In addition, professionally certified accountants, such as chartered accountants and Certified Public Accountants, are expected to have the best employment prospects of all.

Companies will be contending with new regulations and a greater need for corporate financial transparency as a result of past corporate, economic, and accounting scandals.

Chartered accountants looking to advance should look for increasingly senior-level positions in larger companies and corporations, perhaps eventually as a Chief Financial Officer.

Working Conditions and Environment

Chartered accountants usually work in an office environment. They spend much of their time working at their computer and desk, but they may spend some of their time in meetings. Sometimes chartered accountants may be asked to travel to company branches, client offices, or another off-site workplace for the duration of a particular project. Chartered accountants typically work 40 hours a week.

Salary and Benefits

Full-time employees earn an average of $68,960 per year, although most earn between $38,940 and $106,880 per year. Chartered accountants typically earn higher salaries as they advance to more senior positions in larger and larger companies.

Where to Go for More Information

American Institute of CPAs
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
(212) 596-6001

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
777 South Harbour Island Blvd., Ste. 750
Tampa, Florida 33602 USA
(813) 769-6500

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy
150 Fourth Ave. N, Ste. 700
Nashville, TN 37219-2417
(615) 880-4200

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